Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
It's Official! As previously forecast here, Holly Hunter will star in Marina Carr's By The Bog Of Cats, a new version of Euripides's Medea, which relocates the action to rural Ireland, directed by Dominic Cooke, opening at Wyndham's Theatre on 1st December. This is a revised version of the play in which Hunter starred at San Jose Repertory Theatre in 2001. It is presented by 'producer to the stars' Sonia Friedman, Waxman Williams Entertainment and Mark Rubinstein.
Billy Connolly is to bring his latest stand-up show, Too Old To Die Young, to the Carling Apollo Hammersmith, for an extended run between 27th September and 28th October.
Brits On Broadway: David Kernan will direct a new Stephen Sondheim revue, Opening Doors, with arrangements by Jason Carr, opening on 5th October at Zankel Hall, the new venue beneath Carnegie Hall. The cast comprises Gregg Edelman, Victoria Clark, Carolee Carmello, Kate Baldwin and Eric Jordan Young. Developed from Moving On, seen at the Bridewell Theatre in 2000, the anthology features more than 40 Sondheim classics, forming a musical journey through Sondheim's life, illustrated by images, songs and personal narration by the writer.
Nicholas Lyndhurst and Julian Glover will star in a regional tour of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, directed by Peter Hall, opening on 8th November at the Theatre Royal Brighton. Based on Harwood's personal experience of working with Donald Wolfit, it is a backstage picture, portraying the relationship of an aging actor manager and his dresser, touring a production of King Lear during the Second World War. It is a Theatre Royal Bath Production.
Murderous Instincts, a comedy murder mystery salsa musical (which was a big hit in Puerto Rico!), with book and lyrics by Cinda Fox, and music by Alberto Carrion, will open at the Savoy Theatre in early October, following its UK premiere at the Theatre Royal Norwich, from 27th August to 4th September. The cast comprises Nichola McAuliffe, Kevin Colson, Ben Goddard, John Capes, Simon Clark, Jonathan D Ellis, Christopher Frampton, Sarah Ingram, Arvid Larsen and Catherine Porter. As her children and their spouses gather for the reading of her late husband's will, dividing the spoils of his vast Caribbean estate, the matriarch disappears. The show is directed by Bob Carlton and Michael Rooney, who also co-choreographs with Jhesus Aponte.
It's Official! As previously forecast here, George S Kaufman and Howard Teichman's The Solid Gold Cadillac will open at the Garrick Theatre on 27th September, starring Patricia Routledge and Roy Hudd, with David Ross, Lucy Briers, Fred Ridgeway, Nick Haverson and Kate-Lynn Hocking. A satire on corporate corruption, it is the story of a retired actress who uses her handful of shares to bring the greedy executives of a major company to account. It is directed by Ian Brown, and produced by Act Productions, in association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.
Northern Broadsides will present the premiere of a new version Leopold Lewis's The Bells by Deborah McAndrew, directed Conrad Nelson, on 14th September at The Viaduct, Halifax, followed by a regional tour. The Victorian gothic melodrama, made famous by the performance of Sir Henry Irving, is the story of a man, now rich and respected, who is haunted by a violent deed from his past.
Brits Down Under: Mark Wing-Davey will direct Dirty Dancing, a stage musical version of the 1987 film, starring Josef Brown and Kym Valentine, which will premiere in November at the Theatre Royal in Sydney. The adaptation, by original screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, uses period music as featured in the film, plus some new songs by John DeNicola, Donald Markowitz and Franke Previte.
Fifty years of Broadway posters have been collected between the covers of Stephen Suskin's new book A Must See! Brilliant Broadway Artwork, published by Chronicle Books. The 200 colour reproductions include iconic images, like the Cubistic horse used for Equus, the Chaghall-like artwork of Fiddler On The Roof, and the Shaw-as-God Hirschfeld illustration employed by My Fair Lady, and others created by famous artists, such as Norman Rockwell - Abe Lincoln In Illinois, Richard Avedon - An Evening With Nichols And May, and James Thurber - The Male Animal, plus rarities, such as the original out of town poster for Oklahoma! , when it was called Away We Go!.
Classical pianist Joshua Rifkin and soprano Ida Faiella will complete the six week Singular Sensations season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, performing from 11th to 16th October.
Jongleurs is promoting a national tour of Sticky Wicket, featuring the BBC Test Match Special team, starting at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 27th September, and visiting 28 venues across England, including two nights at Lord's cricket ground. Hosted by Ralph Dellor, it features Jonathan Agnew and Mike Gatting, plus either Chris Cowdrey, Angus Fraser, Graham Gooch or Geoff Miller, with reminiscences of times behind the mic, and the chance to pose cricketing questions to the team - plus, inevitably, a cake competition.
The Rolling Stones: An Unseen Diary is an exhibition of photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes that provide a backstage record of what was at the time the largest rock and roll tour ever mounted: the 1975 'Rolling Stones Tour Of The Americas'. It can be seen in the foyer of the National Theatre until 21st August.
The 10th arena opera season at the Royal Albert Hall will feature the return of Bizet's Carmen, in a translation by Amanda Holden, directed by David Freeman from 17th to 27th February, produced by Raymond Gubbay. Two casts will be headed by Leah Marian Jones and Imelda Drumm as Carmen, and John Hudson and John Uhlenhopp as Don Jose, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
And Finally . . . New artistic director Sean Doran plans to give English National Opera a distinct personality, and broaden the appeal of opera, by commissioning two new works a year, the first being a bio-opera about the Libyan dictator Colonel Gadaffi, written by rap group The Dub Foundation, to be directed by Peter Sellars in 2006. The company will also include a musical theatre piece in each season, following the already announced Wonderful Town, with West Side Story - just imagine the ENO chorus performing The Jet Song and Cool.